A very rare encounter took place last week, off the coast of Jupiter in Florida.
In the middle of a paddle boarding excursion, Celine Chasteen received quite a shock when she saw a manatee leaning on her board, as if he was saying hello.
The young woman and her friend were going pretty slowly, and the curious animal clearly wanted to find out what was going on with this strange object. Celine tells The Dodo:
We were going along the coast and I saw what I thought were rocks, but then they started moving. The next thing I know, there's a manatee putting his flippers on my board.
Source : @WPTV
Though the encounter lasted no longer than 30 seconds, the memory is sure to last a long time for the adventurers:
At first, I was like, 'What is going on?' But honestly, it was so cool. I've never experienced anything like that before. I thought he was really cute. He was really nice and stuff. I hope he drops by again."
It's no surprise that the video has gone viral across the internet. At the moment of writing, it's been seen more than 4.8 million times!
Take a look at the cute footage for yourself:
Manatee 'hangs 10' with paddleboarders: http://bit.ly/29Hs18zPosted by WPTV on Friday, July 15, 2016
Manatees are large herbivorous aquatic mammals who live near the coast in relatively shallow waters. They are extraordinarily peaceful creatures who can leave up to the age of 60 and need hot temperatures of more than 20°C to survive.
Sadly, they have featured on the list of endangered species since 1973. Just like so many other marine animals, they have fallen foul of the deteriorating oceans and various sources of pollution. In Florida in the US, collisions with boats are the main cause of death for manatees.